Flat first half costs Baldwin against Spring Hill
Spring Hill pushed Baldwin around for a half and then held off a Bulldog comeback, claiming a 14-12 Frontier League victory.
The loss in front of a homecoming crowd dropped Baldwin to 2-2 on the season and 1-1 in the Frontier League.
Baldwin’s big-play offensive that put up 31 or more points in each of the team’s first three games was nowhere to be seen Friday in the first half, in which the Bulldogs squeezed out just two first downs. It was a pattern that started on the games first possession. Baldwin was unable to move the ball after receiving the opening kick off, giving up the ball to the Broncos. Spring Hill promptly moved the ball 66 yards, taking a 7-0 lead it would never relinquish.
With Baldwin unable to move the ball, Spring Hill enjoyed good field position throughout the first half. The visitors were finally able to cash in on a short field on their final possession of the half, moving the 33 yards, scoring what proved to be the winning points with 14 seconds left in the first half.
“They were the more physical team in the first half,” Baldwin coach Mike Berg said. “I thought being on the road for two games we would be fired up to protect our home field. We didn’t do it.”
The game was the reverse of the Bulldogs first three games, in which they started fast and slowed down offensively in the second half.
Despite its poor showing in he first half, Berg said his team had a positive attitude in the locker room at half time.
The offense finally showed signs of life after Cornell Brown intercepted a pass and returned the ball to Baldwin’s 34-yard line with 6:25 to go in the third quarter. Five plays later senior quarterback Tyler Cawley found Brown open behind the Broncos’ defense for a 39-yard touchdown pass. The point-after kick, however, was no good.
After the defense came up with a big fourth-down stop on Spring Hill’s next possession, the Bulldogs drove 58 yards for their second touchdown. Brown again was big in the drive, busting a 47-yard run to the Spring Hill 11-yard line. Three plays later, Cawley found him in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown pass. But Baldwin failed on a chance to tie the score on a 2-point conversion when Cawley’s pass fell incomplete in the end zone.
Baldwin moved the ball on its next possession before losing possession on an interception at Spring Hill’s 30-yard line. But the Bulldogs got the ball right back when sophomore Christian Gaylord came away with a fumble, sitting the Bulldogs up on the Spring Hill 38-yard line with 8:06 to play in the game.
Baldwin moved the football to the 15-yard line, where it faced a fourth-and-two. But before the Bulldogs could snap the ball, they were marched back five yards on a delay of game penalty, which prompted Berg to attempt a 34-yard field guide. Senior Austin Kraus’ kick was on target but short by about the five yards of the penalty.
The penalty was one of many miscues that plagued the Bulldogs, Berg said.
“We were shooting ourselves in the foot all game,” he said. “We had dropped passes, missed assignments. It was a total team letdown. Our timing was just off.”
Next up for Baldwin is a road trip Friday to De Soto.
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